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800,000 years ago a huge meteorite struck Earth. We might have just found its crater

Scientists may have finally solved a more than 100-year-old mystery.

meteorite-getty

Researchers believe the crater may be buried in a volcanic field in Laos. 

Getty Images

Scientists have known for over a century that a 1.2-mile-wide meteorite smashed into Earth about 790,000 years ago, scattering black, glassy blobs -- known as tektites -- across 20% of the Eastern Hemisphere. But they didn't know exactly where that behemoth landed. 

A team of scientists now say they may have finally found the location of the long-sought crater. They believe it's in the southern part of Southeast Asian nation of Laos, in an area known as the Bolaven plateau. The findings, earlier reported by CNN, were published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on Dec. 30. 

"We present stratigraphic, geochemical, geophysical, and geochronological evidence that the ∼15-km diameter crater lies buried beneath a large, young volcanic field in Southern Laos," the scientists wrote. 

The researchers propose that the elusive crater may be buried in the 218-cubic-mile Bolaven plateau volcanic field, hidden beneath a lava bed. They estimate the crater to be about 8 miles (13 kilometers) wide and 11 miles (18 kilometers) long. The case isn't closed, however. The scientists' next step is to drill down to the strata beneath the lava and verify whether the crater is where they predict.

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